Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

Tuskegee Airmen Inspire IMSA Students and Staff at IMSA Panel

This event was featured in an Aurora Daily Herald article, which you can read here.


Three Tuskegee Airmen, esteemed veterans of the first African-American military aviation group that fought in World War II, spoke and visited IMSA on Tuesday, February 3rd. Hollis Cornelius, Julian Johnson, and Milt Williams spoke and fielded questions in IMSA’s auditorium, sharing their experiences, hardships, and triumphs in breaking the color barrier for pilots in a racially divided society.

History Faculty Member Dr. Lee Eysturlid reverently introduced the three airmen, and IMSA parent alumna Rogina Ruffin moderated the panel. Julian Johnson shared his experience as a bombardier, Hollis Cornelius spoke about how he faced discrimination as a student throughout and after the war, and Milt Williams Jr. told the audience about the war itself, in which he flew more than 30 missions.

The assembly featured multiple applause breaks for the speakers’ bravery and inspirational words. At the end of the assembly the audience asked questions of the Airmen, and afterward students learned more from them over a luncheon that IMSA hosted.